How is your electricity generated?

Find out what ingredients go into your state’s energy stew

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States use many methods to produce electricity.

Do you know where electricity comes from in your state? Depending on the location, energy can come from sources as different as nuclear power and the wind. Throw in a heaping helpful of coal in most states, hydroelectric sources in others and you get a complex energy stew.

Choose Energy® analysts, using the latest data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration, compiled the energy mix for each state using numbers from May 2020. The data delivered some expected results – West Virginia depends heavily on coal, for example – and some surprising ones – Massachusetts gets more than 44 percent of its power from solar generation. Read on for more stats.

How the states stack up

It figures that Texas produces the greatest share of the country’s electricity – about 12.7 percent. There’s a reason that the Texas oilman is such a cliché.

Here are the rest of the top 10 energy producers:

State % of US total State % of US total
Texas 12.7 Washington 3.5
Florida 6.9 Alabama 3.5
Pennsylvania 5.4 Georgia 3.2
California 5.1 North Carolina 3.1
Illinois 4.3 Arizona 3.1

Following is the state-by-state breakdown of major sources of energy production (petroleum, geothermal, biomass and other sources are excluded). Total electricity is measured in thousand megawatthours:

State Total electricity (thousand megawatthours) % from coal % from hydroelectric % from natural gas % from nuclear % from solar % from wind
Alabama 10,575 10.5 10.4 38.8 37.1 0.0 0.0
Alaska 476 12.4 36.6 34.7 0 0.0 2.7
Arizona 9,350 10.5 6.4 45.8 29.6 10.0 0.6
Arkansas 3,532 21.9 8.6 27.6 38.6 0.9 0.0
California 15,465 0.2 18.0 29.2 10.3 33.8 9.2
Colorado 3,911 30.2 4.6 30.7 0.0 6.2 29.7
Connecticut 2,672 0.0 1.9 58.5 34.1 4.1 0.0
Delaware 362 0.0 0.0 94.2 0.0 5.5 0.3
Florida 20,787 6.1 0.1 73.7 13.3 3.9 0.0
Georgia 9,701 5.2 3.7 50.0 31.6 0.0 0.0
Hawaii 721 13.6 0.0 0.0 0.0 23.2 7.4
Idaho 1,650 0.0 70.2 9.3 0.0 4.3 13.5
Illinois 12,997 14.3 0.1 8.9 65.9 0.4 10.1
Indiana 5,834 44.7 0.4 41.8 0.0 1.1 10.1
Iowa 4,229 14.1 2.4 14.2 9.3 0.0 59.5
Kansas 4,046 26.2 0.1 2.7 22.4 0.3 48.1
Kentucky 4,411 61.1 8.8 29.1 0.0 0.2 0.0
Louisiana 8,525 3.8 1.2 67.8 18.8 0.0 0.0
Maine 865 0.5 35.0 16.5 0.0 0.0 24.3
Maryland 2,738 4.2 8.6 31.8 48.9 6.2 1.7
Massachusetts 926 0.0 11.2 55.1 0.0 44.2 2.2
Michigan 6,781 18.9 2.4 37.6 29.3 0.5 7.8
Minnesota 3,848 15.3 2.8 16.0 32.8 5.6 24.8
Mississippi 5,194 7.5 0.0 89.2 0.0 1.0 0.0
Missouri 5,053 67.0 1.7 7.2 17.9 0.9 5.6
Montana 1,813 17.4 66.2 0.0 0.0 0.4 11.9
Nebraska 2,880 49.3 5.1 0.0 20.4 0.2 22.1
Nevada 3,185 3.2 7.4 59.7 0.0 20.8 0.9
New Hampshire 1,284 0.0 10.1 12.4 66.6 1.3 3.3
New Jersey 4,216 1.7 0.1 41.3 49.9 10.3 0.0
New Mexico 2,539 29.9 0.0 36.8 0.0 8.4 25.5
New York 9,284 0.0 29.0 32.1 31.2 4.0 4.0
North Carolina 9,409 7.1 6.6 31.7 41.4 10.2 0.6
North Dakota 3,164 52.0 11.7 2.4 0.0 0.0 33.5
Ohio 8,061 28.3 0.3 45.6 20.1 1.0 2.1
Oklahoma 6,440 3.7 3.1 56.8 0.0 0.1 36.0
Oregon 4,875 0.0 72.1 9.1 0.0 0.2 14.5
Pennsylvania 16,521 8.6 2.4 47.0 38.6 0.5 2.0
Rhode Island 605 0.0 0.0 90.1 0.0 7.9 3.5
South Carolina 7,242 10.9 4.1 30.0 50.2 3.2 0.0
South Dakota 1,244 0.8 57.6 6.6 0.0 0.0 35.0
Tennessee 4,421 14.0 21.6 21.3 42.0 1.1 0.0
Texas 38,524 15.3 0.3 51.1 8.8 2.2 21.8
Utah 2,457 57.1 3.9 23.0 0.0 12.7 3.3
Vermont 207 0.0 58.0 0.0 0.0 20.3 16.4
Virginia 7,658 0.0 2.3 65.4 27.2 2.0 0.0
Washington 10,691 0.0 80.1 4.5 7.4 0.3 6.5
West Virginia 4,884 87.4 3.5 5.3 0.0 0.0 3.7
Wisconsin 4,292 32.0 5.8 34.8 21.0 0.6 3.5
Wyoming 2,880 79.7 3.5 2.8 0.0 0.8 11.7
US 303,434 15.3 9.7 38.3 21.2 4.6 9.3

Which states top the coal and natural gas charts?

Coal long has been considered the “dirtiest” fuel for electricity production, though generators have made great strides in recent years to lessen its impact on the environment. More than 15 percent of the electricity generated in the U.S. during Maycame from coal.

Following are the states that generate the largest percentage of their electricity using coal:

State % from coal State % from coal
West Virginia 87.4 North Dakota 52.0
Wyoming 79.7 Nebraska 49.3
Missouri 67.0 Indiana 44.7
Kentucky 61.1 Wisconsin 32.0
Utah 57.1 Colorado 30.2

Natural gas burns cleaner, but many environmentalists warn that its use produces methane. Here are the states that get the largest part of their electricity from natural gas.

State % from natural gas State % from natural gas
Delaware 94.2 Virginia 65.4
Rhode Island 90.1 Nevada 59.7
Mississippi 89.2 Connecticut 58.5
Florida 73.7 Oklahoma 56.8
Louisiana 67.8 Massachusetts 55.1

The leaders in green energy production

Hydroelectric power is one of the cleanest energy producers. Washington depends heavily on hydroelectric power – one of the reasons the state consistently has one of the lowest average electricity rates by state.

Following are the states that get the largest percentage of their power from hydroelectric sources:

State % from hydroelectric State % from hydroelectric
Washington 80.1 South Dakota 57.6
Oregon 72.1 Alaska 36.6
Idaho 70.2 Maine 35.0
Montana 66.2 New York 29.0
Vermont 58.0 Tennessee 21.6

It likely comes as little surprise that California is among the leading solar producers.

State % from solar State % from solar
Massachusetts 44.2 Utah 12.7
California 33.8 New Jersey 10.3
Hawaii 23.2 North Carolina 10.2
Nevada 20.8 Arizona 10.0
Vermont 20.3 New Mexico 8.4

States along tornado alley lead the way when it comes to producing electricity from wind turbines. But some unlikely candidates round out the top 10:

State % from wind State % from wind
Iowa 59.5 Colorado 29.7
Kansas 48.1 New Mexico 25.5
Oklahoma 36.0 Minnesota 24.8
South Dakota 35.0 Maine 24.3
North Dakota 33.5 Nebraska 22.1

What about nuclear?

Is nuclear power clean or dirty? It depends on your perspective. It produces a far smaller carbon footprint than coal, oil, or natural gas, so in that respect it’s clean. But there’s the problem of what to do with the spent fuel – it’s difficult to overlook that problem.

That said, let’s put nuclear power in its own category. Here are the states that get the largest amount of their electricity from nuclear:

State % from nuclear State % from nuclear
New Hampshire 66.6 Tennessee 42.0
Illinois 65.9 North Carolina 41.4
South Carolina 50.2 Pennsylvania 38.6
New Jersey 49.9 Arkansas 38.6
Maryland 48.9 Alabama 37.1

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 (Last updated Aug. 5, 2020)